We just saw Kevin Garnett, who's never been known for his self control, mutter some things that saw him get the gate. Only seconds before that Jermaine O'Neal got T'd up as well. Three technical fouls within 30 seconds? This isn't Ron Artest jumping in to the crowd to chase a fan, this is two guys simply questioning the calls made.
I appreciate that the league is trying to take back control of the games, from the whining players that seem to always be complaining about calls or the lack of them. The issue that almost everyone seems to have though, is that there has to be a happy medium somewhere.
Take the Garnett example. Celtics and Knicks both sides with talented players that everyone wants to see play, especially the fans that have paid their hard-earned money to be at the game in person.
Now imagine that before half time you lose arguably one of the biggest tickets (excuse the pun) in the game in Kevin Garnett, because he questioned a call, got T'd up and then questioned the technical which sent him to the lockers for the night. As a fan, this isn't good. Part of the thrill of the game is seeing players question a call, and then being able to talk about it with the officials so that it can be understood.
If you take the ability to question calls away, you better be sure that your officials are getting the calls right 100 percent of the time or you're going to have some angry players and fans.
The other day during the Chicago Bulls' rout of the Toronto Raptors, we saw Kyle Korver get T'd up because he pointed to his elbow suggesting he was deserving of a foul call. Right there, it makes no sense to call a technical foul on him.
In situations like that, the referee needs to be the bigger man and simply ignore the player. It's not as if Korver was in the official's grill, and as a player he should be entitled to ask why he didn't get the and one.
I think the referees have become too precious about being questioned. Back in the day players could walk over to referees and ask them about the call, have a joke about it or at least understand each others point of view. These days it seems that the referees are just another sad reflection, of a society that seems to have become unable to accept any form of criticism.
My suggestion is this. If the officials must continue to make these technical foul calls, why send a player home for the night over it. I mean, if he started a fight sure show him the door. However if it's a situation like the aforementioned with KG, why not simply send him to the bench for five minutes? If he comes back out and gets another technical, then send him home for the night.
Perhaps the first technical could even see the player spend time on the pine. Anything to avoid the stars of the best game in the world being relegated to the locker room.
It was pleasing to hear today that the NBA players association plans legal action regarding these new technical foul rules. The executive director of the union, Billy Hunter, has said that the players were not consulted about the change in the rules, which to me says a lot about the league and their concerns over how the players would respond to the changes.
Good luck Billy, and I hope to see a more equally acceptable ruling for the sake of the fans.